Back in 2016, Juan Pablo Torres-Padilla, who has been the CEO of an artificial intelligence (AI) company in France and has held other key positions in the telecommunications and financial investment world, decided to take the opportunity to buy the historic Napa Valley 26 acre Sullivan Rutherford Estate from the Sullivan family, the custodians of that piece of land for over 40 years. It would prove to be a good partnership in terms of handing over the estate to someone who not only wanted to bring this winery more to the forefront of the Napa fine wine world but that the history and legacy would be appreciated and built upon. The estate lies on land that has a deep and rich history which goes back almost two centuries to 1821 when Mexico took over ownership of Napa Valley from Spain. Mexico divided the Napa Valley into two parts: Rancho Carne Humana in the North and Rancho Caymus in the South. Sullivan Rutherford Estate director of winemaking, Jeff Cole, said that they are "essentially in the middle of the heart of Napa Valley vineyards" since the back of the border of their estate is along the Rancho Caymus line as it is right in the middle of where the property lines of Rancho Caymus and Rancho Carne Humana meet.
Wine growers have a neat, if unusual, trick for making more flavorful wine--don't water the vines. Let the vines go dry right before harvest, and they will yield smaller grapes with more skin and less juice. Smaller grapes produce wine with a deeper color and more complex flavor. Trinchero Family Estates in Napa Valley, California wanted to make sure it was watering its grapes just the right amount, so they worked with Ceres Imaging to map their fields. Ceres used fixed-wing aircrafts to capture color, thermal, and infrared images of the vineyard, and they used artificial intelligence to analyze those images to see if the wine producer was overwatering its grapes.
Billionaire friends Elon Musk and Larry Page are reported to have a'funny' relationship. Musk apparently crashes at Page's house where they play video games together to pass they time. But the pair also argue about some major issues, including AI. A new book by renowned MIT professor Max Tegmark recounts a heated debate between the two tycoons at a glamorous party in Napa Valley. During the debate, Page accused Musk of being'speciesist' for his apparently outlandish claims that killer robots could wipe out humanity.
The billionaire entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley have not all been recycling their earnings into Napa Valley vineyards. With publicity commensurate with their wealth and ambitions, such notable visionaries as Elon Musk (co-founder of PayPal, the online payments giant owned by eBay) have staked out claims at and beyond the frontier of available technology, from Tesla's all-electric cars to the proto spaceships of SpaceX. This is a moment when the Silicon Valley style and brand – Go Big or Go Home -- has appeal. The recovery from the Great Recession remains frustratingly slow. In response, governments across the developed world have perversely embraced austerity.
During the last couple of weeks, I spent some time in San Francisco and Napa Valley. Next week, I will revert to the Napa Valley trip, but this Monday, I will focus on the visit to the world's technology centre and the start up environment there. Now, clearly it is a relatively new focus area for me, as you all know and therefore, I am still easily impressed. But, boy, when you are used to the toxic and money-starved startup environment in Europe, and you then experience the amazing energy and huge money floating around in Silicon Valley, it is really hard not to be impressed. Or rather, it is hard not to reconsider your priorities, and this is exactly what I intend to do.